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January 10, 2008

Many opportunities to help others on MLK Jr. Day of Service Jan. 21

News and Information

The Central Branch Preschool was founded in 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. You could help honor King by helping to repaint the school on Jan. 21, as part of the Day of Service in his name.


King also advocated for the poor and those in need. You can remember him by helping to organize the inventory at the Immanuel Community Services Food Bank, or helping out at the Cherry Street Food Bank, or Northwest Harvest.


And did not King advocate for fair housing? You can work in his name by helping out at Hilltop House, an affordable retirement residence whose floors need a new coat of paint. Or you could clean a park, or spruce up an animal shelter, or help paint a children’s playroom in a shelter. Or even create your own volunteering experience.


The point is, there are scores of ways of volunteering your time and effort on the day set aside to honor King — ways you can get involved and, as they say, “make it a day on, not a day off.”


The Martin Luther King Day of Service is held each year on the third Monday in January. This year — the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination — the day falls as far into the calendar as possible, on Jan. 21. The final day to register for volunteer work is Jan. 17. You can learn more and register to volunteer at http://depts.washington.edu/mlkjr/.  


On the UW Seattle campus, the Day of Service will kick off with coffee and pastries at 8 a.m. in the HUB Ballroom, where the various volunteer teams will gather. Then after a brief program featuring campus and community leaders, volunteers will head out for work at 9 a.m.


Matt Wojciakowski, community engagement coordinator for the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center, the UW’s sponsoring agency for the Day of Service, said there are more than 60 different service projects for employees to choose from, with room to accommodate up to 1,400 volunteers. And many of the volunteer opportunities still need Project Leaders before they can be opened up to University employees.


Wojciakowski noted some new volunteer opportunities for the Day of Service. These include:


  • Working with EarthCorps at the 43-acre Cheasty Greenspace in Seattle’s south end.
  • Helping the United Way get word out about the free tax preparation that will be offered at 15 locations in King County.
  • Assisting the Zion Preparatory Academy prepare its facilities for winter quarter.


All members of the UW community — including students, faculty and staff and their own family and friends — are invited to participate. Day of Service activities at the UW’s Seattle campus are sponsored by the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center and the United Way of King County.


UW Tacoma also is preparing a slate of Day of Service volunteer opportunities, but in the case of this branch campus, the day’s events will be stretched out to three days, Jan. 19, 21 and 25, 2008. Projects include helping Habitat for Humanity, the Catholic Community Services chore program and a Metro Parks program working with individuals with disabilities, and more to be announced. For more information or to register, visit the Diversity Resource Center online here. 


And here is a Web page from UW Tacoma that lists volunteer opportunities in that area.


Also in Tacoma will be the second-annual Martin Luther King Day Unity Breakfast, which will be held at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at the Longshoremen’s Hall, 1710 Market Street, in Tacoma. Cark Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers and former head of the Seattle NAACP, will be the keynote speaker.


UW Bothell, too, will celebrate the legacy of King. Participating students, faculty, staff and their families and friends will come to Seattle for the kickoff before fanning out to service projects at Evergreen Hospital Thrift Shop or at Magnuson Park.


And just as King worked throughout the year, you can participate beyond the actual Day of Service. You can get a start on this at an educational event titled “How to Stay Engaged in Your Community Following the MLK Day of Service,” from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in 209 HUB. There, representatives of the Carlson Center and United Way of King County will discuss ongoing community involvement.